I walked into the house and the children flocked to me to give me hugs. Their faces were variously browned and sunburned. I could tell they’d been having lots of fun outdoors with their cousins. I could also see a slight inner tension unwind a little because I was there. The outward manifestation of that inner tension was that they all felt free to be more cranky. It was a high level psychological juggling act to get all four of them to pack up the car and be seated without a major battle erupting. We actually did have a “Don’t Make Me Stop This Car” level conflict about halfway home, during which I did pull off the highway long enough to resolve the issue that yes Gleek’s bag of stuffed animals did have to be moved so that Link could fully recline his seat. However that one flare up dispelled the cranky because the drive afterward was full of cheerful retellings of the trip where as the ride before was pent up quiet.
We all arrived home cheerful and my people have scattered to rediscover all the things they’ve been missing for a week. Life is good. Now I just need to relax for the rest of the evening so that I can put on my business hat again first thing tomorrow.